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Mindful Life Style : Inspired Living

The Human Givens Approach to Mental Health & Well-being'
By Khaled Bazzi

Khaled interprets dreams and has designed and developed his own divination cards. He had various powerful experiences and trained in shamanic journeying techniques, which have inspired him to write and share his thoughts with others.

Jan 15, 2006 - 12:21:00 PM

Having been to three different types of therapy/counselling through difficult times over the years, at each turn I was struck by how, even after months of treatment, I didn't feel any better. In some cases, I actually felt worse. It was like going to a doctor who prescribed a bitter pill, only that's all I got: a bitter taste in my mouth!

I saw therapists from three different approaches: psychodynamic, person-centred and transpersonal. Each seemed to eventually focus me on my past, on trauma and sad events; invariably, I got more depressed. I couldn't understand how rehashing the past, and getting very upset was helping me with current problems. 

Whenever I asked for guidance from the counsellor/therapist, the reply I got was 'what do you think you should do?' or 'you have to go through this process to get in touch with your feelings'. I found that unhelpful, especially given that I was parting with so much money. It was frustrating to say the least.

Earlier this year, while browsing the psychology section of a London book store, I came across a book entitled 'Dreaming Reality' by Joe Griffin and Ivan Tyrell. It's a fascinating book, backed up by scientific research, showing that dreaming is not a just by-product of consciousness but is an important and vital function which actually keeps us sane.

Throughout the book, there are many references to the 'human givens approach'. As it turns out, Griffin and Tyrell are the founders of the Human Givens Institute, 'the professional body representing the interests of those in the caring and teaching professions who work in alignment with the best scientific knowledge available about the givens of human nature' (in their own words).

So what are the human givens?

Every one of us is born with highly important physical and emotional needs; along with that, nature has given us innate resources to fulfil them. This is the biological inheritance we all share. These needs and resources are integral to our biology; that's whey they are called human givens. What makes the human givens so important is that these needs and resources we are born with are indisputable.

The needs are:

-          Our need for security: a stable home life and safe territory in which to live.

-          Our need for intimacy and friendship.

-    Our need to give and receive attention.

-    Our need to feel connected and part of a wider community.

-    Our need to feel competent, which comes from successful learning and
applying skills (remedy for 'low self-esteem').

-    Our need for privacy, where we can reflect and consolidate our experiences.

-    The need to be stretched in what we do, which gives a sense of meaningfulness 
to our life.

The tools and resources we have to get these needs met include:

- The ability to learn and add new knowledge to innate knowledge.

- Memory and the ability to forget.

- Curiosity, imagination and the ability to problem solve.

- The ability to focus attention.

- The ability to understand through metaphor (pattern-matching).

- Self-awareness, or an observing-self.

- Resilience.

- The ability to empathise and connect with others.

- A dreaming brain that de-arouses the autonomic nervous system every night, 
keeping us sane.

Those whose needs are well met don't suffer mental health problems. But those whose needs are not fulfilled, or whose resources as mentioned above are misused or damaged, will suffer distress. They might also develop, in an effort to cope, antisocial behaviours.

Reading all this on their website, I rushed out and bought 'Human Givens: a new approach to emotional health and clear thinking', also by Griffin and Tyrell. Taking in the material was like switching on a light after years of fumbling in the dark!! The book covers a vast amount of up-to-date sychological research, written in plain English ('no jargon' is one of their principles), and covers the interplay of the needs and innate resources mentioned above, and what we need to develop and thrive. 

It also covers their approach to helping people out of depression, anxiety, phobias, addictions and psychosis. Their techniques in these areas are well documented and proven to be highly effective. They combine various approaches to mental health and well-being; at the core of all these is the drive to make the necessary changes in a person's life so that they can move on. This is in sharp contrast to focusing on the past, as many undergoing counselling will experience. The past is looked at only as long as is necessary.  

Furthermore, their research has proven that the brain does not distinguish between going through a traumatic event or talking about it! In other words, where the brain is concerned, talking about a terrible event is no different to experiencing it. No wonder I didn't feel better when I did so.

As a result of reading these books, I signed up to do the diploma course. Since then, I have spoken to nurses, doctors, teachers and counsellors who all told me of the great success they've had since they've applied the human givens approach to their practice. One counsellor told us how the level of referrals went up by almost 100% since they incorporated the human givens principles to their approach.

Having had first-hand experience with various types of counselling over the years, finding the human givens approach is not just light at the end of the tunnel; it's more like the end of the tunnel.

For further information on the Human Givens Institute, please visit, where there is also a list of practitioners in the UK and information on seminars and workshops (which can be taken independently of the diploma course).

© Khaled Bazzi 2006



Release of Artist's First Single 'Nemesis'
Khaled Bazzi, inspirational columnist for announces: "I am very excited to share with you the release of my first single 'Nemesis'. About 15 years ago, I wrote a poem entitled 'In Neptune's Kingdom Green and Vast', which I shared with PS Magazine readers some time ago. This poem has always been very special to me as the whole poem came to me in one go, in a flash of inspiration. I had no idea at the time that it would one day become a song."
Nov 15, 2007 - 8:57:51 PM

Sahar Chats to Khaled About The "Human Given" Experience
Interview with Khalid Bazzi, IT executive, discussing the "Human Givens Course", a holistic course for self-development, while pursuing his full time job too. This is an Certificate Training Program leading to becoming a certified practitioner in Counseling.


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